Hodgson shuffles off toBuffalo

Pardon the Eruption

Canucks classless to the end

By Terrance Gavan

We may now say it with oomph.

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Cody Hodgson for Zack Kassian. Photo is courtesy of Vancouver Province Sports and Photo.

Alain Vigneault and Mike Gillis won’t have Cody Hodgson to kick around like a duct tape soccer ball in a Brazilian barrio any more.

The Vancouver Canucks brass, coach, Vigneault and the GM, Gillis finally pulled the plug on Haliburton’s Cody Hodgson.

Hodgson, in spite of his plausible status as a bona fide first or second line 70-80 points per year guy, and his recent candidacy for rookie of the year, has been less than widely accepted by Vancouver Canucks front office since he landed on their doorstep as their first round choice – tenth overall – in 2008.

Hodgson was traded to Buffalo for big winger Zack Kassian. To be more precise it was Hodgson and defenceman Alex Sulzer to the Sabres for Kassian and defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani.

Hosdgson did not even get the benefit of a phone call from the GM or the coach. Typical. TheVancouver front office proved classless with this talented CHL Player of the Year, and junior gold medalist, from the moment they acquired him, and true to form, they were unbelievably crass at the end.

Hodgson told TSN in an interview just 25 minutes after the trade was announced that he was headed back to the hotel in Phoenix when a teammate told him that he had been traded.

That’s right. Hodgson heard about the biggest trade of the day in a Sun City parking lot. From a tweet and a text on a buddy’s phone. That’s an absolutely unpardonable goodbye. It turns out that his sister, who answered the phone from TSN looking for a reaction probably found out about the trade well before her brother.

And as bad as Cody must feel about being traded from a Stanley Cup contender to the struggling Sabres, he must be just a little relieved to see the back end of VieGillis, a two headed west coast monster; and slayer of dreams.

The shoddy goodbye is typical of this Vancouver front office, which has never been fair, honest or supportive of their number one pick from 2008.

Hodgson sounded absolutely deflated on the phone to TSN on Monday. He had already been talking with his family inMarkham.

As one of about four promising rookie players vying for the Calder this year, Hodgson was not expected to be in the trade deadline mix on Monday.

But there he was, the unexpected darling of a less than stellar trade day.

James Duthie, TSN’s anchor of a bland ‘Trade Deadline Spectacular’ asked Hodgson how he felt.

“I don’t know what to think, I’m still in shock right now,” said Hodgson. “I’ve talked to my family and…  well, they know I’ll be closer to them.Vancouver’s a great city and their fans are passionate about hockey. It’s tough.”

Hodgson sounded like a kid who had just been told that Wayne Gretzky is an alien.

“I really don’t know what to think right now… I’m, umm, excited,” said Hodgson, unconvincingly, before reflecting on the team he was leaving. “Yeah, they’re a good team, well built from goaltender out and they’re a good group of guys. It’s a really weird feeling.”

Duthie then told Hodgson that the TSN brain trust were busy trying to figure out just when a rookie of the year candidate had been traded at the deadline.

Try never.

This is same team that kept a rookie of the year candidate down to 10 minutes of playing time per game. And the same team that literally mismanaged, mishandled and misdiagnosed a damn good hockey player from the ‘git go’ to the ‘giddyup.’

The same team that had to apologize to the Hodgson family and support team for a laborious and well documented misdiagnosis of Cody’s back problems, which kept him on the outer fringes of an NHL career for two years, before Hodgson decided to take matters into his own hands.

The good news for Hodgson’s family and friends inTorontois the fact that they’ll be able to pop down to see Hodgson on a whim.

And Cody will be close to a support system – his family and friends inMarkham- who have stood by him through the roller coaster ride from hell in Van City.

He will be deprived of a deep playoff run, but he will be ensconced in a city that should, and will, embrace this young kid, who in spite of the turmoil and dross, has shone in Vancouver as a solid young man and a rising young star of the future.

Iain McIntyre,VancouverSun columnist summed up the trade as a win for Buffalo fans and coach Lindy Ruff.

“The most immediate challenge will be replace Hodgson as the key component on the second-unit power play, which is dramatically better than last season and one of the reasons these Canucks could be better than last year’s team,” wrote McIntyre. “The Canucks’ other short-term challenge will be making their rabid, excitable fans believe the team is better without Hodgson.”

We know one thing.

Hodgson is better off without the Vancouver Canucks.

Get gav@haliburtonhighlander.ca or gav@pardontheeruption.com